Black Tea Cake with Salted Honey Buttercream

I read a lot as a kid. Mom would take us to the library every weekend to pick out a new selection of books, which was probably my favorite part of the week. In grammar school, I particularly loved Amelia Bedelia and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.

Amelia Bedelia was always misinterpreting her boss's directives, often mistaking the chore for its homonym; for example, when she was asked to "draw the curtains in the sitting room" she literally sat and sketched them. However, she always made up for her mistakes with her amazing baking. I distinctly remember one book where Mrs. Rogers asks Amelia to make a tea cake to take to a friend's house. Amelia interprets this a bit too literally and empties a tea bag directly in the batter. Mrs. Rogers is upset at first but the cake turns out so deliciously, all is forgiven.

This cake is somewhat inspired by Amelia Bedelia but was also inspired by the fact that I just wanted to make some honey buttercream and thought that since tea and honey go so well together, it made perfect sense.
tea cake
1½ teaspoon + 1 teaspoon black tea
1½ cups milk
¼ cup + ¼ cup honey
1 cup butter, room temperature
½ cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda

salted honey buttercream
¼ cup honey
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
2 egg whites
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Start by steeping the tea in milk. Add milk to a saucepan, add in 1½ teaspoons tea, and the pop the pot onto the hob over low heat until scalding. Stir in ¼ honey and then set aside to cool.
Cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Then, in corporate the eggs one at a time until totally combined. Whip in some vanilla extract.
Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Incorporate about a third of the flour mixture into the batter. Then add in about half of the milk mixture. Alternate until the batter comes together.
Add 1 teaspoon of tea and whisk in until batter is smooth and combined.
Pour the remaining ¼ of honey on top of the batter and use a spatula to gently swirl it in; do not mix it in completely.
Pour the batter into a greased cake tin. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Leave to cool.
While the cake is cooling, work on the frosting.
Add sugar, honey, and water to a saucepan. Heat over a medium high flame until a candy thermometer reads 250F.
While the sugar and honey are heating, start whipping some egg whites and salt to stiff peaks.
As soon as the honey and sugar hit 250F, slowly drizzle into the egg whites, while whipping on medium speed.
Continue whipping until the bowl feels cool to the touch.
Whip in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until the frosting is lovely and fluffy. As a final touch, whip in a little vanilla extract.
Frost the cooled cake and serve.
This cake is so subtly sweet and is complemented really well by the salted honey buttercream. I couldn't resist drizzling just a little extra honey on top because why not?
Here's the recipe page: